Right now with that title, I've either freaked you out. Gotten you to suddenly hold me accountable. Or perhaps, I've intrigued you. My intention is to intrigue you. Then whatever happens after that is not up to me, but up to your soul.
Why... Pray tell would I leave that up to your soul? Free-will. If I were God.
I'll explain. According to other people's plans, I was supposed to be a devout Catholic or this Bible-banging Christian. I was to get everyone to repent.
However, what happened at a young age was... I was given a Bible. It had pictures in it. It had only the New Testament in it... Which I read early on... by the way according to the New Testament is blasphemy to not attach the Old Testament. As well, it is blasphemous to disregard the Old Testament. Okay follow me... I'm going somewhere.
So, here I was near age eight. Mom, barely had access to a vehicle with any regularity. The closest Catholic church in my first ten plus years was at least two miles or even three miles from our home then. And in another town no less.
Mom was insistent that we (kids) attend church together three of four Sundays a month.
She found another church of a different denomination, and seemingly a new Christian denomination when I was about age six.
It was the Church of the Nazarene. It was about a mile from our home. My Dad never attended. He was busy finding himself. But my mom would attend with my older brother and I. We attended services till we moved two towns away, just before my eleventh birthday.
That little church no longer exists as a church today. Now it is currently an art studio. I entered it with my daughters about ten years ago for an art show.
Back to that church and the people in it. People of all types of sinful backgrounds went there. And I don't mean horrible people. I mean people who desired meaningful lives. Who were imperfect. To the naked eye, it wasn't seen unless confessed. Which the atmosphere lent itself to admitting any wrong you felt you did or that you actually did. Yes, many people were upfront. It was a lesson I learned. What the lesson was, to embrace everyone regardless of whether they had done drugs, attempted suicide, lost faith, missed church...for weeks, months or years.
Basically, it was of a forgiving essence that was in the air.
As well, on Sundays the service upstairs for over an hour was for the adults. And the service downstairs was provided by the pastor's grandmother. She was in her eighties. She taught us kids the Old Testament with songs, coloring pages, reading, crafts, and providing picture books depicting Old Testament Biblical stories.
She captivated us. I'd look into her eyes as she sang to us. It was as though, she allowed me to see her depth. Then we would sing with her.
And that was the best introduction for me to study about our humanness and the Divinity within each of us, no matter the religion. What I also learned. Was if the religion didn't embrace everyone. Then it judged anyone. Then it restrained free thought. And that there would be no wiggle room for self-love.
So, as my dad attempted to find himself throwing off, according to him... his Lutheran suffocated upbringing. And he'd claim Catholicism was worse. He turned to Confucism.
Back then I would go up to my room, read my picture Bible book, talk to God outloud, and dream of being someone in the Old Testament. I knew who I wanted to be. And I knew what I wanted in my life for the world. I seemed to have always been obsessed in fixing, repairing, healing people. It remained my mission early on. As well, my mission to understand other's religion. Not condemning it. But listening to them without any attachment unless they were forceful in nature. Then that showed their inequities in their faith.
After reading the entire Bible Old and New Testament over twenty times. As well I'd read the little red Jehovah's withess book. I then over the years studied Daoism. As well, then under the guide of a trained Daoist minister, studied Daoism every week for six months. I've read the Tao now many times. I've read most of the Gita. I've had both our daughters read some Buddhism. As well, had them read the New Testament towards the end of us having morning Bible studies...As our oldest was then turning age sixteen.
I’ve read some of the Quran. And had discussions about Islam with Muslims from more than one country.
I studied much Judaism, enough to teach a form of Jewish Bible school at home to our children. (As I promised my Jewish husband on the twelfth day of meeting each other. Which was on our third date.)
I had our children read the Five Books of Moses. Our oldest read through it over three times over in an eight year span. My Hebrew is not great, but I say grace in Hebrew before dinner and then in English. Our children understand it is the least thing they can do to honor the riches of having food provided regularly to them.
I've read about other religions. Our children still ask me questions on other religions. Especially, Catholicism.
I've taught our daughters, that it is important to understand the religion that their friends are, by my saying, "When in Rome..."
What this leads me to, is that no matter what religion you are. We are not here in our Divineness to tell someone what to do with their lives. It is not from Love. And it is an unethical approach to living. We are merely here to suggest. Demanding is typically not from a loving heart. It is from the emptiness of the Ego.
Love is open and unattached. It is not holding onto, forcing, depriving... For that is not Allah-like, not Buddha-like, not Krishna-like, nor God-like. It is godless.
Humans are to have free-will. Which is to expand our spiritual depth and breadth.
Only our insecurities hold us and others back from what we are to be endowed with. You don't need to literally put people in chains or put people behind bars to take away their entitled free-will. You just need to provide laws that restrict choices. Whether its a veil over a woman's face. Not allowing a woman outside her domain without a male guardian. Restricting higher education for girls. Or Eliminating the choices a person has that concern their bodies and anything inside them. If I were God, what would I think now? I have asked myself this question many times throughout my life. As I sit back watch wars. Watch bullies. Watch judgements.
Many years ago I was discussing with a Priest my perception of when we die. I told him, "God will have a video tape of everything. Imagine the episodes when we think 'no one will know this about me...'." We laughed. But imagine if you were God. That Global view. How heart-wrenching. Yet, how lovely.---Jody-Lynn Reicher